Bakersfield is located halfway between Los Angeles and Fresno at the southern end of central California’s San Joaquin Valley. The 2011 census reported Bakersfield’s population as 352,428, propelling it from California’s 12th largest city in 2000 to ninth largest in 2010. Unfortunately, the 40 percent growth in population also meant an escalation in illegal drug usage and trafficking.
Like Fresno, the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamines (meth) and the large-scale cultivation of marijuana are significant problems. In December of 2011, the Bakersfield Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was part of a multi-agency investigation that led to the arrest of two men and the seizure of over $5 million worth of meth, some of it in a water-filled washing machine. The attempt to destroy the meth was futile because it isn’t water soluble and the watery substance was used as evidence.
Recent DEA Actions in Bakersfield
In April of 2013, a man who had been recruited from Florida to set up a marijuana cultivation project in a light industrial area of Bakersfield was sentenced to federal prison. The DEA confiscated 1,161 marijuana plants valued at about $4 million and 54.8 pounds of processed marijuana valued at over $200,000.
Also in April, a Bakersfield man who was on probation after serving time in prison for selling meth was obviously eager to return to the “big house” since he sold the drug to two different undercover agents at a Bakersfield Wal-Mart parking lot and a banquet hall. The man now faces 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.
DEA Jobs & Careers in Bakersfield
DEA special agents are on the front lines of drug trafficking investigations, often by working undercover. Job functions include such things as participating in surveillances, arresting violators, seizing illegal drugs, confiscating assets, collecting evidence, testifying in court and participating in school and community drug awareness programs.
However, rewarding careers with the DEA are not limited to special agents. Other opportunities include:
- Diversion Investigators. Focuses on the investigation of rogue internet pharmacies which represent one of the nation’s fastest growing problems.
- Forensic Scientists. Forensic chemists, fingerprint specialists and forensic computer specialists work at state-of-the-art DEA labs located across the country.
- Intelligence Research Specialists. Work closely with special agents by doing complex research on drug trafficking organizational structures, routes, cultivation, transportation, manufacturing methods, etc.
- Administrative Support. Includes attorneys, accountants/financial managers, engineers, facilities managers, and specialists in such areas as information technology, telecommunications, human resources and environmental protection.
How to Become a DEA Special Agent or Other Professional in Bakersfield
The DEA is a federal agency and job qualifications are the same at all locations. Special agent applicants must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 21-36, in excellent physical condition, and able to obtain a top security clearance. In addition, there are strict educational and experience requirements and qualified individuals must successfully pass a battery of written, oral, medical, physical fitness and psychological tests. All DEA professionals will undergo a thorough background investigation and must be willing to relocate. Detailed information about job qualifications is available at the DEA’s general website by clicking on “Careers.”
Interested men and women are also welcome to visit the Bakersfield DEA office at 1400 Schirra Court; tel. 661/392-3736. Bakersfield is part of the San Francisco division and details about upcoming orientations and career fairs can be obtained by calling Jeanne Allen, special agent in charge of recruitment in San Francisco; tel. 415/436-7814.